Therapist Charged With Sexually Assaulting Autistic Child

Bradford Smith (Clarendon County Detention Center)

A disturbing case that will get the blood boiling has emerged from South Carolina today, which involves a male therapist who has allegedly sexually assaulted an autistic child under the age of 11. Details are sketchy at this point, but a couple things we do know.  The alleged assailant is 27-year-old Bradford Smith of Sumter, South Carolina.

According news reports, Smith was a therapist for the South Carolina Early Autism Project, but it appears the organization is denying the assault took place on their watch as there are some discrepancies between his time with SCEAP and when the alleged crime(s) occurred.  For good reason, many involved in the case appear not to be talking to the media.

It’s also unclear what kind of acts Smith may have committed, but one report says an attempted choking incident occurred back in 2009.  It’s not known if that incident is tied to the current criminal sexual misconduct charge or if it was a separate, unrelated incident.

What’s interesting is in his mug shot, Smith appears to be wearing a wedding ring. It’s not uncommon for child predators to marry or pretend to be married as a "front" to help gain the trust of victims and their families. It’s too soon to say if that applies to this case or if Smith is in fact married, but what’s interesting is that police have stated that there may be other victims, which would fuel the speculation of a possible double-life.

Additionally, reports say that Bradford Smith has posted a $50,000 surety bond and is currently out on bail. 

It’s cases like these that really emphasize the need to overhaul the criminal justice system when it comes to those who prey on and take advantage of our children and special needs population.  The courts need to come down HARD on individuals that violate the trust that is given to them by parents and their children.

This case will be monitored closely and if in fact Bradford Smith is convicted of these crimes, it is our hope that he is punished to the fullest extent of the law. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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